Tim Low was excited to have been part of the Slave Route Challenge last year. Photo: Mo Bassa.
Senior statistical sciences and mathematics lecturer at UCT, Tim Low, will trade in his apparatus for a run in the sun when takes to the road at the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon on Saturday.

Low, 49, born in the UK, moved to Cape Town in 1994 after he met his then-wife while staying at the YMCA in Queen Victoria Street on holiday in 1990.

It’s the 20th time he has entered the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon which starts at the corner of Dean Street/Newlands Main Road and finishes at UCT rugby fields.

What makes this event even more special for the Rondebosch resident is that he will be turning 50 in July. Today, Low, who is the eldest of three children, will be competing in his 50th ultra marathon and 150th standard plus marathon (a race that is 42.2km or more).

“Once I reach this milestone, I will reach two others as well. This includes completing my 50th Ultra and 150th standard-plus marathon. When I realised that this could be possible last year, I started targeting marathons and ultras. I hoped I would be accepted for them and wouldn’t get sick,” said the Nedbank Running Club member.

Low is undeterred by his chronic asthma. “Medication has kept me upright and depending on the changing beliefs of medical practitioners I have either been told to do sport or not. I have found that my asthma is best controlled by being active.

“If I do not run for a couple of weeks then I have noticed an increase in the chance that a post-nasal drip or cold will affect my chest,” said Low, whose goal is to run sub-five hours and obtain a Sainsbury medal. The medal, named after Two Oceans running legend Chet Sainsbury, is awarded to runners who complete an Ultra time of between four and five hours.

“I’m like to aim for 4 hours and 40 minutes but I tend to be lazy. Finishing in 4hrs 59mins is just as satisfying as finishing in 4hrs 40mins,” he said

Low, who competed in the Two Oceans for the first time in 1996, described the race as a fun run with excellent support.

“The support along the route and the calm of concentration running up Chappies to the euphoria of reaching the finish is something special.

“My favourite South African marathon is probably the Outeniqua Marathon for its mixture of trails, scenery and relaxed atmosphere. My most memorable overseas one is probably the Berlin Marathon as the weekend is a festival of running and there is a sight to admire around every corner.”

When Low, who also completed his 10th Comrades Marathon last year, was growing up, he watched the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe and retired track and field athlete Steve Cram. The British duo dominated middle-distance running during the ’80s along with compatriot Steve Ovett, who grabbed gold in the 800m event at the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980.

“They were inspiring a nation to emulate them.”

Weekend Argus